Alertus FAQ

What is this effort about?

The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to providing timely warnings and/or emergency notifications for situations that represent a serious or continuing threat to the campus community. To support this commitment, the University is requesting all emloyees install an emergency messaging desktop client, a new method of disseminating critical information to on all university owned assets. In the event of an emergency, this service will issue a “pop-up” message to computers with emergency messaging desktop client installed. 

Why should I install the client?

Emergency messaging desktop clients will be an integrated method of communications within the CU Boulder Alerts program and will help meet the requirements of providing emergency notifications and timely warnings as required by the Clery Act. In an effort to maximize safety and the protection of our campus community, all university owned workstations should have the emergency messaging desktop client installed on it. This will ensure the widest dissemination possible for the CU Boulder Alerts program and provide additional coverage in areas where cellular signal is degraded.

Tell me more about the emergency messaging desktop client.

Alertus is a vendor of alerting technology and systems. While they offer many options, CU Boulder has procured their emergency messaging desktop feature (http://www.alertus.com/desktop/). This feature allows a safety administrator to launch an alert which will cause any registered computer to be overridden with a screen “pop-up” message. The message can be tailored to the situation and the recipient is forced to hit a “Dismiss” button in order to close the window. Alertus is able to be integrated into our current dashboard provided by RAVE allowing the continuation of using just one system to launch alerts via multiple channels. Alertus requires a client to be downloaded and installed on each computer to establish a connection to the Alertus server and be able to receive alerts. The software has been evaluated by OIT Security and is currently in the planning stages for deployment. The deployment will be a combination of automated distribution, individual installation, and voluntary download for non-university property if the owner so chooses to do so.

Where do I go to get the software and instructions for installation?

Office of Information Technology Alertus information page contains the Mac and Windows software and instructions on how to install.

Do I have to be an administrator on my workstation to install the client?

 Yes.

Where do I go if I need assistance regarding the installation, use, and troubleshooting the emergency messaging desktop client?

Contact the IT Service Center at 303-735-4357 (5-HELP from an on-campus phone) or help@colorado.edu and they will get you to the correct person to assist you.

Can I contact Alertus directly if I need assistance?

No. A member of the IT Service Center will assist you the best they can and if possible, contact Alertus on your behalf to continue to seek resolution on your issue.

What operating systems will the software work on?

The emergency messaging desktop client will currently work on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 with the .NET 2.0 Framework (or greater) installed, and Mac OSX 10.5+. Your machine will need 7+ Mbs of free hard disk space, network connectivity, and administrative permission for installation.

Can I install the client on my mobile device or tablet?

No. This client is for desktop use only. While the vendor may release versions in the future that are able to be used on mobile devices and/or tablets, the University of Colorado Boulder IT Service Center will not support such installations and the user will need to contact Alertus directly for assistance. To be sure you get alerts on your mobile device, go to the CU Boulder Alerts (http://alerts.colorado.edu/) and be sure you are registered and your information is up to date.

What sort of messages will come in the form of a “pop-up”?

Only situations that represent a “significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on the campus” will utilize the “pop-up” method of communication to those with the emergency messaging desktop client installed. This service will only be used when absolutely necessary. If you have questions or concerns, please submit a ServiceNow ticket and IT Service Center will contact you to assist.

 

What will the “pop-up” look like?

It will always have the CU Boulder logo and specify it is a “CU Boulder Alert”.

Will I get the “pop-up” on my computer if I take it home or go to a coffee shop?

Yes. As long as you have installed the client and have your computer online, the Alertus server will attempt to deliver the “pop-up” alert to your desktop even if you are not on the wired or wireless CU Boulder network.

Will the messages be tracked?

While the system does keep a log of computers alerted and if a user “Dismissed” the message, this information will not be actively monitored or used as a normal process within the CU Boulder Alerts program.

 

Does the client track or monitor computer usage?

No. The client’s only function is to listen to its server for an alert and then process that alert into a “pop-up” message. No user statistics or monitoring are performed.

 

Who is the manager of this service?

The emergency messaging desktop client module, a part of the CU Boulder Alerts program, shall be managed collaboratively by the University of Colorado - Boulder Police Department (CUPD) and the Office of Information Technology (OIT).

What if I don’t want to install it on my machine for fear of impacting software performance?

If it is deemed the emergency messaging desktop client could negatively impact special software or computing functions, it is not required for the client to be installed. However, this product should not compete with computing resources and has been tested to be safe for installation. It can always be uninstalled if problems arrise.